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Photo Montage

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Photomontage is an art of photography through which composite photographs are created by editing and mixing few different pictures, and is transformed into an illusion of a subject which is not relevant to the portrait. There may be times when the final image would be photographed first and then other images are fixed to it so that is seems the original photographic print. Another method through which such photographs can be created is not through a film but by using an image editing software, as the new age brings in the new technology with it. This software is mostly used by professionals and the call the process as compositing, but if you are a layman then the common term used for this art is known as Photoshop, for this purpose different software is being used. If you combine a set of photographs that are related to each other i.e. if they are of the single scene or same subject then it will not be considered as a montage. A photomontage can change a normal photograph into something which is out of this world. People have developed a liking for this form of art and they follow the process in their day to day lives as well, by converting their personal photographs into a beautiful photomontage.

The History of Photomontage

From the very beginning, since the days of coinage and that of the Dadaist, photomontage is considered to be a mix of signifying modes which includes the printed and the hand written pieces of texts such as journals, newspaper cuttings, advertisements, letters, posters, instructions, fliers, etc. The Dadaists usually mixed their photomontages through scissors and the collage paste. Collage is not the same as that of montage; it is created through the fragments with sharp cut or the torn edges, whereas in a montage it mixes the images together by the thinning opacity which is at the periphery. Photomontages came into existence at the time of Victorian era, when the mid- Victorian photomontage which was known as combination printing at that time became quite famous. The photographic works of Oscar Rejlander and Henry Peach Robinson posed a challenge to the then popular painting and the theatrical tableau. During that period the postcards featuring fantasy photomontages were quite popular. The biggest producer at that time was the Bam forth Company, which was based in England and New York, America. It gained the zenith of popularity at the time of World War I, when a mix of photographs showing the soldiers and their families were published.

In most of the earliest examples that you will find in the fine art photomontages, consisted of the photographic elements which were superimposed on the watercolors. This was during the time of the Dadaists, when a movement broke out in Germany that was to make a montage into a modern art form. At the end of the Word War I the term photomontage came into existence, which was during the year 1918. The big names in the industry during that time were the likes of Hannah Hoch, John Hartsfield, Raoul Haussmann, Kurt Schwitters, Johannes Baader, etc. A single picture that was combined with other photographs of irrelevant subject created a visual effect that became very powerful equipment for the Dadaists who were protesting during World War I and the interest that they believed to have inspired the war. The art of photomontage survived the movement run by the Dadaists, and this technique was inherited and assimilated by the European Surrealists, such as Salvador Dali. The first show of photomontage effects were exhibited in Germany somewhere in the early and mid-1900s. Later on a new term was coined for this art in Europe known as the “photo collage”, this included the amazing work of adding topography, brush work and maybe even objects that were stuck to the photomontage.

A lot has changed since the time when photomontage first came into existence, both in terms of technology of the image creation and in terms of interpreting those images. When the photographs took a transition to color, and then it got amazing results from the development in the field of the digital graphic of channels and the layers that control the superposition and the opacity of the images. Creating a photomontage image has turned out to be very simple, but to see and interpret what exactly has been tried to be posturized can be a little hard. The linguistic analogies that thinks of the placement of shapes as the syntax and the component of shapes as words, which makes them into a sentence that is in trouble with that of the photomontage from the beginning. As photomontage is an art, that works opposite to that of the discreteness of words or that of their placements in a single sentence structure. Another problem is that a photomontage is an unnatural creation, by combining two or more photographs together. It has always been the impossible and not something that can be believable by a normal person, even though it is been shown as a print image.

The thing that comes back to us is the point of visual literacy and it complicates the simple dichotomy which is related to the special conventions of a medium against a usual heuristics to understand the universe. Literacies should not be multiplied without any reason, this was an argument given by the Messaris’. The fact of the matter is that it is not necessary for us to be taught or taken through an internship of viewing to be able to see small images of people in a picture that are as far away from us that larger ones are in the same photograph. Art galleries exhibiting the same have been established by the governments, and the art form is promoted by them. This is the basic principle through which we can orient ourselves and that what we view in the space. Some of the objects in a photomontage have a peculiar property, and it presents us with the problems to view the object or find them in space or to identify them. These days the editors working in the magazines, newspapers, etc. create photomontages through the software which are easily available, such as Adobe Photoshop, Corel Photo paint, etc.

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